Science of Meth-Chemical Process
Whatever method of cooking Meth is used (please see Meth Lab section for details), the science remains the same. Methamphetamine is a synthesized drug – raw materials are combined and put through a chemical process, resulting in the final product. There are basic chemical requirements for synthesizing any material: a precursor, a reagent, a solvent and a catalyst.
Precursors are the essential chemical for the production of the drug. There are no substitutions for this component. Meth’s precursor is Ephedrine. It can be extracted from legal medications containing pseudoephedrine, most commonly cold and sinus medications.
Reagents are chemicals that react with the precursor, changing the chemical makeup of the precursor. There are a number of products used as reagents in Meth production. In the Midwest, the most widely available and most commonly used item is anhydrous ammonia from fertilizer.
Solvents are liquids where the chemical operation takes place. Coleman fuel, starting fluid and methanol are some of the common solvents used in cooking Meth.
Catalysts are the final requirement for synthesizing. A catalyst speeds up the reaction process and pushes it towards greater completion. The catalysts involved in Meth production are highly dangerous – red phosphorous, lithium or sodium metals and hydrogen.
These graphics represent the chemical changes in pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and Meth molecules during synthesizing.